Create a -cli package without a different executable

Toshio Kuratomi a.badger at
Sun Dec 20 06:08:45 UTC 2009

On Fri, Dec 18, 2009 at 10:39:18PM +0100, Julian Aloofi wrote:
> Am Freitag, den 18.12.2009, 18:12 +0100 schrieb Nicoleau Fabien:
> > Hi,
> > 
> > I'm packaging phatch that provides /usr/bin/phatch, a graphical
> > application to manage some operations on photos. It handles command
> > line parameters so that it can be used in a script, without a GUI :
> > if no parameters are given, a GUI is displayed, otherwise it acts as a
> > console application.
> > 
> > Upstream asked me if it's possible to keep "phatch" package, containing
> > the graphical requirements (and requires) and requires phatch-cli, and
> > create a phatch-cli, that provides /usr/bin/phatch. With this way,
> > people could just install phatch-cli on a server and use it with
> > command line parameters (but it would crash if it's not launched with
> > parameters).
> > 
> > My question is :
> > is it good to provide a -cli package that does not provides a separate
> > script or executable file, and that will work only if the user is
> > carefull to not launch it in a way that it does not require a graphic
> > lib (without parameters in that context) ?
> > 
Sounds like the goal is good but the implementation is not.

> > 
> I see phatch is a python package, so I think a little trick could be
> possible:
> %package cli:
> BuildRequires:	python-devel
> Requires:	non-gui-dependencies
> %files
> {_bindir}/phatch
> and for the main package:
> Requires:	phatch-cli
> Requires:	pygtk2, <gui-dependencies>
> [install desktop file etc...]
> This way users could explicitly install phatch-cli, and it would "only"
> not start up properly if called without arguments on a terminal, and the
> main package (gui version) would contain the program and pull in the
> graphical dependencies.
> I don't know the program though, and if the cli version depends on gui
> libraries to work properly as well it wouldn't work.

This is not ideal but it needs some coding to come up with something better.

* phatch with no options can attempt to import a gui lib.  If that
  succeeds it launches the graphical interface.  If it does not succeed, it
  displays the usage/help message.
* phatch is a command line app.  When invoked as gphatch it starts as
  a gui app instead.  The phatch-gui subpackage installs a symlink from
  /usr/bin/gpatch to /usr/bin/phatch as well as .desktop files.

Basically, it's great to have the option to get the functionality of the
program without having to install the GUI environment.  But the program
tracebacking when the GUI environment is not present and the user typed the
command name without options is not good behaviour for a program.

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